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Our B Corp Journey [How to navigate the B Impact Assessment]

Welcome to the second instalment of our B Corp blog, this time we focus on some simple pointers to help get you moving forward with the B Impact Assessment, as well as an update on where we are now.

Getting to grips with the BIA:

The B Impact Assessment or BIA, is, quite rightly, designed to really interrogate your business and as such takes some time to learn to navigate it smoothly. I have transitioned from feeling totally overwhelmed by it to feeling (mostly!) confident, and from my experience would recommend the following:

  1. It sounds so simple but really take the time to work through the B Impact Assessment slowly, one category at a time. Read and re-read the questions, and you will soon find you know your way around and that it all does make sense after all. There is also a huge amount of information here.
  2. Click the links! There is a wealth of information available through the ‘learn more’ tab which is at the top left of each question, and the implementations and examples tabs that are under the learn more section. Anything blue is a link.
  3. Utilise the goals facility – click on the star at the top right of the question. You can then choose what you wish to achieve in a certain timescale. Select ‘goals’ on the left hand side of the main page and they can be reviewed and edited. Set realistic dates for achieving each goal and work systematically towards them.
  4. Read the emails – the regular B Corp emails not only have links to lots of helpful articles but they are also full of information about other inspiring businesses that, if you are anything like me, will give you a much needed boost when certification feels out of reach.
  5. Record your metrics – water, waste to landfill, electricity and so on – you will not be able to prove you have reduced your consumption, or even that you are aware of it, without monitoring it.
garden focaccia baking kit

Engage your colleagues:

It can be easy to forget that other people in your business may not know what a B Corp is, why your company wishes to be one, or how on earth you will get there. How you choose to engage staff members will vary from business to business, but what matters is that you do engage. Provide your contact details and be present and available, either in person or virtually, so that every staff member knows who to approach with questions or ideas – and listen to what they have to say.

We achieved this by running a team day for everyone in the business; we watched Our Planet: Our Business, had a presentation on B Corps and discussed why, and how, we intend to work through the B Impact Assessment and achieve accreditation. Everyone had the opportunity to present ideas for positive change, and whilst we were together it was also the perfect time to talk openly about our financials. The company growth, projections and the charitable donations we have made in the past 12 months that are all thanks to the team’s hard work were shared with everyone. Each staff member had a goody bag and lunch from small, sustainable businesses. The feedback was extremely positive – overwhelmingly people said they really enjoyed the day and that they felt they left with a good understanding of the B Corp process, having known very little beforehand.

Connection is key:

Working with likeminded businesses is not only crucial in moving to a fully sustainable and ethical world, it is also a way to learn from others whilst sharing your knowledge, and evolving your own business to be better. To find B Corps in the UK use the search tool on the B Corp site, this is how we found Beyond Governance who have completed the legal changes required for B Corp certification.

The following businesses are not all B Corps, but they absolutely are businesses that are doing great things are are striving towards a better business future and we are proud to support them:

Eco Village Market Harborough – we have hired a cardboard packaging machine from the lovely ladies that run this venture. They needed the machine out of the way for a while for a refurbishment and we wanted to try one before committing to a purchase so it has been a win win partnership for us. So far it is great, whilst recycling is good it is still a resource intensive process and therefore giving cardboard that comes in the to the bakery another chapter in its life can only be a positive thing.

Vent For Change – a fabulous stationary company that I came across on my quest for beautiful, sustainable office stationary. They support children’s education worldwide with every sale.

Matthews Cotswold Flour – we now purchase Organic flour from Matthews Cotswold for all our biscuits and baking kits. Matthews Cotswold support small farmers and regenerative farming, so though purchasing from them we really are voting with our wallets for the type of farming future we want.

Ecosia – an internet search engine that is a B Corp and plants trees with clicks. One tree is planted for approximately every 45 searches. This has to be one of the easiest ways to do good, there is simply no reason not to use them!

Our challenges right now:

Hot Compost Bins – I got a bit ahead of myself and didn’t follow the directions for setting them up closely enough. This led to smelly, wet mush in the bins – oops!! We have hopefully overcome this by leaving them open to dry out during a hot weekend, and all being well we will be able to extract some compost in a month or two.

Compostable bags – we are trialling various bags from a range of suppliers. So far we have discovered that they do not keep the dried raspberries crispy or brown sugar soft which simply will not do! We are not entirely sure why this is but now have tried vacuum packing some and will check them in a few weeks.

Postal boxes – a lot of our packing is made locally, and all is from sustainable sources. However we need to find a company in the UK that can make our hard cardboard ‘matchbox’ style boxes (which have a drawer that pulls out with a ribbon tab) which is proving quite tricky. We will not give up so watch this space.

I hope this has been useful, if you have any questions or suggestions please do get in touch, I would love to hear from you!

Laura

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